A stunning all-round performance by Central Stag Seth Rance propelled Greytown to a resounding and history-making win over Eastern Suburbs of Wellington on the opening day of the NZCT national cricket club championships at Cornwall Park, Auckland, on Tuesday.
It was the first time a Wairarapa club had won the right to represent Central Districts in this prestigious tournament and to taste success first-up against opposition who have been the dominant team in Wellington club cricket in recent seasons made it even more special.
The Rance contribution was immense with both ball and bat. The paceman finished with the excellent figures of 4-36 when Eastern Suburbs batted first and scored a healthy 301 from 48.5 overs and then came to the wicket with Greytown 104-4 in reply and seemingly on a hiding to nothing.
Situations like that tend to bring out the best in Rance, who is at his most dangerous when taking the attack to the bowlers, and he literally smashed his way to an unbeaten 118 in 106 minutes, facing 78 balls and cracking 14 fours and three sixes.
His fourth-wicket partnership with Robbie Speers was worth 175 runs, Speers hitting 68 from 75 balls, including six fours and three sixes.
The dismissal of Speers at 278 meant Greytown player-coach Mark Childs joined Rance and the winning runs were scored on the fourth ball of the 43rd over - a five-wicket win.
Andrew Fullerton-Smith and Jeremy Dean were the only Eastern Suburbs batsmen to top the half-century mark with opener Dean making 52 from 54 balls and Fullerton-Smith 51 from 52 balls.
Rance was clearly the pick of the Greytown bowlers both in wicket taking and economy, although Brian James would have been happy with his 3-51 from the full 10 overs. The conceding of 33 runs from wides suggests the accuracy was not always as good as it might have been.
Among the batsmen for Greytown, opener Jake Ross was solid enough in getting through to 27 from 48 balls, skipper Tim Lucas struck five fours in his 29 from 24 balls and Steve Coleman reached 26 from 27 balls.
EASTERN SUBURBS 301 (Dean 52, Brodie 34, Johns 30, Gibson 2, Karaitiana 17, McLauchlan 41, Fullerton-Smith 51, Tugaga 12, Dry 2, Joseph 4 not out, Connell 8, extras 48; fall of wickets, 93, 118, 130, 145, 163, 244, 279, 288, 289, 301; Rance 9.5-0-36-4, G Reisima 9-0-59-0, Foster 8-1-72-0, Coleman 10-0-55-2, James 10-0-51-3, M Reisima 2-0-14-0) lost to GREYTOWN 302-5 (Ross 27, Lyttle 3, Lucas 29, Coleman 26, Speers 68, Rance 118 not out, Childs 9 not out, extras 22; fall of wickets, 27, 46, 85, 103, 278; Joseph 10-2-48-3, Connell 5-1-42-1, Tugaga 9-1-59-1, Gibson 8-0-63-0, Dry 6.4-0-44-0, Karaitiana 5-0-41-0) by five wickets.
Other first day results: Pukekohe-Metro (Northern Districts) 301-8 (Kevin Farrell 111, Ash Vonale 95) beat Suburbs-New Lynn (Auckland) 168 (Jeet Raval 54, Michael Bates 36; Vodnala 3-24) by 133 runs; East Shirley (Canterbury) 255 (Leo Carter 117, Tim Papps 52; Nick Beard 4-33, Michael Sneddon 3-33) beat Albion (Otago) 238 (JR Glenn 53, Nick Beard 49, Chris Harris 53, Tim Ford 45; Jared Roberts 3-51, Dexter Marsh 4-35) by 17 runs.